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Tennessee Laws Relating to Workplace Violence

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on April 9, 2013.

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A summary of Tennessee laws relating to weapons and conduct that impact workplace violence.

An individual, corporation, business entity or government entity in Tennessee is authorized to prohibit the possession of weapons by employees otherwise authorized by law to possess weapons on premises owned, operated or managed by the individual, corporation or business entity. Notice of the prohibition must be posted or otherwise noticed to all affected employees.

Also, an individual, corporation or business entity is authorized to prohibit the possession of weapons by employees otherwise authorized by law to possess weapons at meetings conducted by or on premises owned, operated, managed or under the control of the individual, corporation, business entity or government entity. Notice of the prohibition must be posted or announced.

Effective July 1, 2013, Tennessee allows handgun carry permit holders to store guns in privately owned motor vehicles in employer parking lots. The handgun carry permit holder’s vehicle must be parked in a location where it is permitted to be, and the firearm or ammunition being transported or stored in the vehicle must be kept from ordinary observation if the permit holder is in the motor vehicle, or kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person’s privately owned motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to the vehicle if the permit holder is not in the vehicle.

In Tennessee it is unlawful for a person to possess or carry a firearm without a permit. However, a permit is not required to possess or carry:

  • a firearm in one's place of residence, place of business or premises
  • an unloaded rifle, shotgun or handgun not concealed on or about the person when the ammunition for the weapon is not in the immediate vicinity
  • a rifle or shotgun while engaged in the lawful protection of livestock from predatory animals
  • a firearm by a law enforcement officer
  • a firearm by a state, county or municipal judge or federal judge or magistrate

It is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm on the premises of a place open to the public where alcoholic beverages are served or in the confines of a building where alcoholic beverages are sold. This prohibition does not apply to law enforcement officers, on-duty military personnel, to persons on their own premises or premises under their control or to employees of the owner of premises with responsibility for protecting persons or property on the premises.

A person may not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly carry a prohibited weapon on or about the person for the purpose of being armed while inside any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress. If, however, the weapon is a firearm, the prohibition applies regardless of whether the weapon is carried for the purpose of being armed. This prohibition does not apply to law enforcement officers, on-duty military personnel and persons directed by the court to bring a firearm into the court for the purpose of providing evidence.

It is unlawful for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to be armed, any weapon not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution. The school must display in prominent locations, such as sports arenas, gymnasiums, stadiums and cafeterias, about the school signs, at least six inches high and 14 inches wide stating: FELONY. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF SIX (6) YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.

It is unlawful to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent of being armed, any weapon not used solely for instructional, display or sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government or instrumentality for recreational purposes. Signs must be displayed prominently, including at all entrances, on any building or structure, such as rest rooms, picnic areas, sports facilities, welcome centers, gift shops, playgrounds, swimming pools, restaurants and parking lots, that are at least six inches high and 14 inches wide stating: MISDEMEANOR. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF ELEVEN MONTHS AND TWENTY-NINE DAYS AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($2,500) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON OR IN PUBLIC RECREATIONAL PROPERTY.

A city, county or urban-county government may not regulate the transfer, ownership, possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or components of firearms.

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